What is matted hair?
Matted hair is the combination of attached and shed hairs entwined in clumps or web-like tangles. They are more severe than regular tangles. Some are just prone to matted hair, but many experience matted hair when wearing braided extensions or other extensions too long.
How does it happen?
Matted hair occurs when it has not been combed to remove shed hairs. Loose hairs can knot several times around attached hair, create a tangle, and lead to matting if not removed. Some people are just prone to knotting while other may be suffering from a damaged hair cuticle, causing more friction from the lifted cuticles.
Does it have to be cut out?
No, matted hair can be successfully detangled without cutting the hair. It takes patience, work, and product, but it can be accomplished and end up saving your strands and your nerves from being shot. Yanking or ripping the hair apart leads to further damage to your strands. No one likes dealing with matted hair.
How to detangle it
While some may decide to seek a professional (hair stylist) to fix their matted hair, it can be done at home with a few tools and some serious patience.
STEP 1 - LOOSEN
Loosen the matted strands by saturating with an excellent detangler, oil, or moisturizing conditioner but never a shampoo and water only. This is not the time to skimp so really saturate it. Some will allow the hair to sit for up to 30 minutes with the detangler and some even add heat to really get the product to loosen and soften the strands.
STEP 2 - PULL APART
Use fingers or a wide tooth comb to gently pull apart the strands, but take your time. The goal is to detangle your a hair and decrease further damage. Make sure to hold onto the hair near the root to prevent yanking and pain.
There will be significant shedding so do not panic and remember we lose on average 100 hairs a day, and since the hair is matted those shed hairs are locked in and need removal.
How to keep hair from matting
-DO detangle regularly to decrease the chances of it occurring, especially if you are prone to matting
-DO NOT put off detangling, as it may turn into a more tedious and damaging detangling session or matting
-DO regular protein treatments to fill the gaps in damaged cuticles, as this will decrease friction, tangles, and matting
-DO NOT keep extensions in any longer than advised